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November 3, 2003

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"Disasters involve cycles in the human experiential cycle [...] Human cycle mirrors cycle of catastrophe. Earth benefits in form of periodic cleansing. Time to start paying attention to the signs. They are escalating. They can even be 'felt' by you and others, if you pay attention."

Is Dubya a hate-filled Christian fundamentalist fascist? One psychologist seems to think so, we have to say he makes a strong case.

The U.S. is bulldozing and running over children in Iraq - shades of Israel. In other Iraq news, Paul Bremer wants to set up a kangaroo court since he says U.S. forces can't hold detainees forever. It appears America may begin firing up the execution chambers at Guantanamo.

Yesterday, we reported on the increasing hunger problem in the USA. Today we cover more on this story, and add to the list of warnings about an impending crash of the American economy.

The Bush Reich plans to stand firm in Iraq. Seems all this death and violence is "tragic but necessary." The great monotheistic blood god has his demands...and they must be met. A mysterious weapon of unknown origins has been fired on U.S. troops.

Sharon flies off to Moscow to meet with Putin. Is the fact that Mikhail Khodorkovsky is Jewish have anything to do with it? In Eastern Europe, the AIDS epidemic spreads. Biological warfare to cull the herd?

Measles, quakes, asteroids, meteorites falling in India again, a UFO mystery that still baffles a small town, and more on the idea that empty space isn't so empty after all. The State of the World Report has been released. Princess Diana's tapes have apparently been destroyed.

And monkeys terrorize New Delhi.

In response to an article from yesterdays signs page that stated:

"Really? Is the United States a military dictatorship? Who elected General Abizaid? (For that matter, who elected George W. Bush?) According to the US Constitution, there is civilian control of the armed forces. No one in the press corps challenged this attack on fundamental constitutional principles."

A Reader responds:

"When the South seceded from the Union, President Abraham Lincoln declared a State Of Emergency, thereby suspending the Constitution, and making the U.S. a military dictatorship.

Then, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln, before Lincoln had a chance to legally undeclare the State Of Emergency.

No president since has ever LEGALLY UNDECLARED the State Of Emergency.

As Laura pointed out in an article recently, what is LEGAL is the most important thing in America. The Constitution is technically suspended. The United States IS a military dictatorship, and has been since the Civil War.

So, the whole campaigns/voting/elections/Congress thing is, literally, theater. This is why the U.S. Government PRETENDS to follow the Constitution and the laws of Congress SOMETIMES (to maintain the illusion for the sheeple), but they keep violating the "law" whenever it suits them, and no-one is ever punished, because they're only "violating" fake laws. The military dictatorship has its OWN laws, called the Executive Orders, all of which ARE unconstitutional, but the Constitution is SUSPENDED."


Comment: While the above may be true, of more relevance is the fact that concepts like "rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution" were never real, they were specifically created to fool the people into thinking they were free and lived in the "greatest democracy on earth".

This is the grand deception.

In a country where anyone can easily be assassinated for simply knowing too much, where the media is 100% government controlled and where elections are rigged, there are no "rights" and you never had any.

Iraqi child crushed by US tank

By Nurah Tape
Monday 03 November 2003, 12:56 Makka Time, 9:56 GMT

A six-year-old Iraqi child has been crushed to death by an American tank.

The incident was said to be reminiscent of scenes caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine as the child was killed underneath the tank's tracks.

The tragedy occurred during clashes between US troops and Iraqi civilians in Abu Ghraib, on the outskirts of Baghdad on Friday.

Locals said skirmishes broke out twice in the town on three days, and by Sunday night military bulldozers had demolished stalls set up near the roadway.

Reports indicated that up to 1000 civilians were protesting the occupying forces’ imprisonment of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison, when fighting erupted near the marketplace and police station on Friday.

Up to 14 Iraqi civilians were killed and five wounded. One Iraqi policeman was also reported killed. There were more casualties the following day. [...]

Iraqi Police Now Targets of Choice

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 2, 2003; Page A01

BAGHDAD, Nov. 1 -- The two-story police station where Lt. Arkan Mohammed works has been shielded from the street with seven-foot-tall concrete barriers. A sentry trains an AK-47 assault rifle at visitors until they have been frisked in the parking lot. Patrol units spend much of their shifts circling the building to look for suspicious cars.

Mohammed, a former undercover officer, said his family knows all this. He has told them about the security measures again and again, to reassure them after car bombings destroyed three other police stations in Baghdad last Monday. Still, he said, his mother and sisters cry every time he heads to work.

"Going to the police station now is like going to war," he said as he gazed at the cement blocks. "You never know if you'll return home alive or not."

For Baghdad's police, these are dangerous times. With U.S. soldiers quartered in highly fortified bases around the capital, the police have become the target of choice for fighters seeking to disrupt the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq. [...]

US recalling parts of former Iraqi army: Rumsfeld

WASHINGTON (AFP) Nov 02, 2003

US authorities in Iraq are incorporating members of the disbanded Iraqi army into the newly reconstituted Iraqi armed forces, weeding out soldiers still loyal to Saddam Hussein, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Sunday.

Asked to confirm a New York Times report that US officials are considering recalling entire units of the old army, Rumsfeld said the idea is nothing new. [...]

Tragic days part of war on terror: Rumsfeld
Defence secretary calls Iraq conflict `long, hard' But U.S. resolve `unshakeable,' White House says


WASHINGTON—America's resolve will not be shaken by yesterday's deadly attack on U.S. forces in Iraq, senior Bush administration officials said.

The bloodiest single attack of the Iraq war for Americans was a tragic, but necessary step in the war on terrorism, U.S. Defence Minister Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday.

"It's clearly a tragic day for America," Rumsfeld said on ABC's This Week.

"In a long, hard war, we're going to have tragic days.

"But they're necessary. They're part of a war that's difficult and complicated.''

[...] In any war, Rumsfeld said, there are going to be "bad days.''

U.S. President George W. Bush was at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and was quickly briefed by advisers. He made no public comment yesterday.

"The stakes are high in Iraq," said White House spokesperson Trent Duffy. "The terrorists seek to kill coalition forces and innocent Iraqis because they want us to run.

"But our will and our resolve are unshakeable. We will prevail in this critical front in the war on terror because the stakes are too high to do anything less.''

Comment: Of course what Rummy is really saying here is that this war is too complicated for the average dumb American to understand, you just sit back down and think what Don tells you to think, then everything will be just fine.

Forget all about the fact that there remains absolutely no evidence of any justification for the attack on Iraq that killed up to 30,000 essentially defenseless people, military and civilian alike. Forget all about the fact that the only verifiable results of the war are that thousands died and continue to die and Iraq has been turned into a veritable war zone and living nightmare for its people.

Oh yes, and forget all about the fact that many US companies like Haliburton have vastly increased their wealth by being awarded contracts to process and sell Iraqs oil reserves, and to "reconstruct" after the devastation wreaked by the dropping of billions of dollars worth of bombs, built by US companies that also got rich from doing so. So tell us Don, what is so complicated about the fact that a bunch of greedy, bloodthirsty fascists wanted to get rich by killing civilians? Its part of everyday life here on the BBM.

US talks tough in face of rising attacks

Monday 03 November 2003, 15:09 Makka Time, 12:09 GMT

A bomb blast northeast of Baghdad has left one Iraqi dead and 15 wounded as US officials vowed not to be deterred by mounting attacks against their forces.

[...] US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has vowed that his country will stay in Iraq, despite the loss of 19 Americans in resistance attacks on Sunday.

(...] More than 200 American soldiers have been killed since president Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq on 1 May, more than the number killed during the war.

The number of Iraqi civilians killed in the war could be as high as 10,000, according to Iraq Body Count (IBC), a British volunteer group that has compiled statistics on civilian casualties.

[...] The US media is being pressured by the Pentagon not to photograph and film the coffins of dead soldiers returning home.

The American government has launched an offensive against sections of the media, complaining that they are only interested in reporting the bad news from Iraq, choosing to ignore their troops' successes.

A news organisation complained about American forces trying to seize their footage from the helicopter attack on Sunday.

Comment: Bush tries to tell us that the problem is that the US news media is too "liberal." They only report the bad news. To show that we at Signs of the Times are open to constructive criticism, here is a short report on the good news from Iraq:

Haliburton is doing really well. That means that Dick Cheney is doing well. And if Dick is happy, well then, his wife Lynn must be pleased as well. This will certainly have a positive influence on her colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute. This is the "tickle down" effect so well known to economic theorists. Lynn Cheney also serves on the board of Lockheed Martin, one of the large US arms contractors. So Lynn's joy will also spread around the boardroom at Lockheed. Of course, with the large increase in military spending decreed by George the Second, the board members are already most likely feeling pretty darn chipper themselves.

Lynn's extra bit of cheerfulness might well ignite a whole new round of brainstorming on next generation means of killing off all those suffering poor people in those far-off places of the world, the culmination of the eugenics policies so dear to the heart of George Bush Sr. That will mean, in the long-term, less demand on all those resources the US needs, freeing them up for consumption by people who have earned them.

The deaths of poor people who have no food, no hope, and no access to American culture will mean less suffering in the world, and so the owners of SUVs can fill up at the pump with even less of a sense of guilt than they don't have currently, thereby relieving deep-seated psychological pressures among the American population. Having been relieved of their final existing qualms on killing "those people," the American public will then back the complete annihilation of the Arabs, knowing in their hearts that it will lead to the Second Coming of the Blood God, and leading in the Thousands Year Reich, er, Reign of Peace of their Lord and Savior, Jesus W. Bush.

So, you see, there is good news all around!

Something felled an M1A1 Abrams tank in Iraq – but what?

Mystery behind Aug. 28 incident puzzles Army officials

By John Roos
Army Times

Shortly before dawn on Aug. 28, an M1A1 Abrams tank on routine patrol in Baghdad "was hit by something" that crippled the 69-ton behemoth.

Army officials still are puzzling over what that "something" was.

According to an unclassified Army report, the mystery projectile punched through the vehicle’s skirt and drilled a pencil-sized hole through the hull. The hole was so small that "my little finger will not go into it," the report’s author noted.

The "something" continued into the crew compartment, where it passed through the gunner’s seatback, grazed the kidney area of the gunner’s flak jacket and finally came to rest after boring a hole 11⁄2 to 2 inches deep in the hull on the far side of the tank.

As it passed through the interior, it hit enough critical components to knock the tank out of action. That made the tank one of only two Abrams disabled by enemy fire during the Iraq war and one of only a handful of "mobility kills" since they first rumbled onto the scene 20 years ago. The other Abrams knocked out this year in Iraq was hit by an RPG-7, a rocket-propelled grenade.

Experts believe whatever it is that knocked out the tank in August was not an RPG-7 but most likely something new — and that worries tank drivers. [...]

Bush Hates Veterans

So George, how do you feel about your mom and dad?

Psychologist Oliver James analyses the behaviour of the American president

Tuesday September 2, 2003
The Guardian

As the alcoholic George Bush approached his 40th birthday in 1986, he had achieved nothing he could call his own. He was all too aware that none of his educational and professional accomplishments would have occured without his father. He felt so low that he did not care if he lived or died. Taking a friend out for a flight in a Cessna aeroplane, it only became apparent he had not flown one before when they nearly crashed on take-off. Narrowly avoiding stalling a few times, they crash-landed and the friend breathed a sigh of relief - only for Bush to rev up the engine and take off again.

Not long afterwards, staring at his vomit-spattered face in the mirror, this dangerously self-destructive man fell to his knees and implored God to help him and became a teetotalling, fundamentalist Christian. David Frum, his speechwriter, described the change: "Sigmund Freud imported the Latin pronoun id to describe the impulsive, carnal, unruly elements of the human personality. [In his youth] Bush's id seems to have been every bit as powerful and destructive as Clinton's id. But sometime in Bush's middle years, his id was captured, shackled and manacled, and locked away."

One of the jailers was his father. His grandfather, uncles and many cousins attended both his secondary school, Andover, and his university, Yale, but the longest shadow was cast by his father's exceptional careers there.

On the wall of his school house at Andover, there was a large black-and-white photograph of his father in full sporting regalia. He had been one of the most successful student athletes in the school's 100-year history and was similarly remembered at Yale, where his grandfather was a trustee. His younger brother, Jeb, summed the problem up when he said, "A lot of people who have fathers like this feel a sense that they have failed." Such a titanic figure created mixed feelings. On the one hand, Bush worshipped and aspired to emulate him. Peter Neumann, an Andover roommate, recalls that, "He idolised his father, he was going to be just like his dad." At Yale, a friend remembered a "deep respect" for his father and when he later set up in the oil business, another friend said, "He was focused to prove himself to his dad."

On the other hand, deep down, Bush had a profound loathing for this perfect model of American citizenship whose very success made the son feel a failure. Rebelliousness was an unconscious attack on him and a desperate attempt to carve out something of his own. Far from paternal emulation, Bush described his goal at school as "to instil a sense of frivolity". Contemporaries at Yale say he was like the John Belushi character in the film Animal House, a drink-fuelled funseeker.

He was aggressively anti-intellectual and hostile to east-coast preppy types like his father, sometimes cruelly so. On one occasion he walked up to a matronly woman at a smart cocktail party and asked, "So, what's sex like after 50, anyway?"

A direct and loutish challenge to his father's posh sensibility came aged 25, after he had drunkenly crashed a car. "I hear you're looking for me," he sneered at his father, "do you want to go mano a mano, right here?"

As he grew older, the fury towards his father was increasingly directed against himself in depressive drinking. But it was not all his father's fault. There was also his insensitive and domineering mother.

Barbara Bush is described by her closest intimates as prone to "withering stares" and "sharply crystalline" retorts. She is also extremely tough. When he was seven, Bush's younger sister, Robin, died of leukaemia and several independent witnesses say he was very upset by this loss. Barbara claims its effect was exaggerated but nobody could accuse her of overreacting: the day after the funeral, she and her husband were on the golf course.

She was the main authority-figure in the home. Jeb describes it as having been, "A kind of matriarchy... when we were growing up, dad wasn't at home. Mom was the one to hand out the goodies and the discipline." A childhood friend recalls that, "She was the one who instilled fear", while Bush put it like this: "Every mother has her own style. Mine was a little like an army drill sergeant's... my mother's always been a very outspoken person who vents very well - she'll just let rip if she's got something on her mind." According to his uncle, the "letting rip" often included slaps and hits. Countless studies show that boys with such mothers are at much higher risk of becoming wild, alcoholic or antisocial.

On top of that, Barbara added substantially to the pressure from his father to be a high achiever by creating a highly competitive family culture. All the children's games, be they tiddlywinks or baseball, were intensely competitive - an actual "family league table" was kept of performance in various pursuits. At least this prepared him for life at Andover, where emotional literacy was definitely not part of the curriculum. Soon after arriving, he was asked to write an essay on a soul-stirring experience in his life to date and he chose the death of his sister. His mother had drilled it into him that it was wrong when writing to repeat words already used. Having employed "tears" once in the essay, he sought a substitute from a thesaurus she had given him and wrote "the lacerates ran down my cheeks". The essay received a fail grade, accompanied by derogatory comments such as "disgraceful". [...]

His deepest beliefs amount to superstition. "Life takes its own turns," he says, "writes its own story and along the way we start to realise that we are not the author." God's will, not his own, explains his life.

Most fundamentalist Christians have authoritarian personalities. Two core beliefs separate fundamentalists from mere evangelists ("happy-clappy" Christians) or the mainstream Presbyterians among whom Bush first learned religion every Sunday with his parents: fundamentalists take the Bible absolutely literally as the word of God and believe that human history will come to an end in the near future, preceded by a terrible, apocaplytic battle on Earth between the forces of good and evil, which only the righteous shall survive. According to Frum when Bush talks of an "axis of evil" he is identifying his enemies as literally satanic, possessed by the devil. Whether he specifically sees the battle with Iraq and other "evil" nations as being part of the end-time, the apocalypse preceding the day of judgment, is not known. Nor is it known whether Tony Blair shares these particular religious ideas.

However, it is certain that however much Bush may sometimes seem like a buffoon, he is also powered by massive, suppressed anger towards anyone who challenges the extreme, fanatical beliefs shared by him and a significant slice of his citizens - in surveys, half of them also agree with the statement "the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word".

Bush's deep hatred, as well as love, for both his parents explains how he became a reckless rebel with a death wish. He hated his father for putting his whole life in the shade and for emotionally blackmailing him. He hated his mother for physically and mentally badgering him to fulfil her wishes. But the hatred also explains his radical transformation into an authoritarian fundamentalist. By totally identifying with an extreme version of their strict, religion-fuelled beliefs, he jailed his rebellious self. From now on, his unconscious hatred for them was channelled into a fanatical moral crusade to rid the world of evil.

As Frum put it: "Id-control is the basis of Bush's presidency but Bush is a man of fierce anger." That anger now rules the world.

Iraq's neigbours call for greater UN role in Iraq

Iraq's six neighbouring states and Egypt have condemned the latest wave of violence in Iraq, and called on the USA to maintain security and stability there. Foreign ministers who took part in two days of security talks in the Syrian capital of Damascus also demanded a greater role for the United Nations in Iraq. In a statement, they condemned attacks on civilians, humanitarian and religious institutions, embassies and international organisations. Iraq's interim foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari, had turned down a belated invitation to the meeting. Iraq is bordered by Syria, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.

Leader of Danish party invites Saddam to seek political asylum


The leader of the Danish Republican Party, Sooslashren Mosegaard has invited Saddam Hussein to seek political asylum in Denmark. In a statement conveyed to Al Bawaba via email, Mosegaard said the offer is "on behalf of the Danish people."

"The Danish Republican Party does not sympathize with Iraq's former regime. But we do believe that everybody - even Saddam - is entitled to protection from inhumanly punishment," the statement of the Danish politician added.

According to the danish law, as an asylum applicant in Denmark, Saddam Hussein can not be extradited to USA or other countries who employ torture or death penalty, the statement added.

'It's a pay scale for the Iraqis: $700 for an attack on a tank; $1,000 for a helicopter'

U.S. Wants Iraqi Tribunal to Try Saddam Officials

By Alistair Lyon
Sun Nov 2, 9:47 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's U.S.-led administration wants to speed up creation of an Iraqi tribunal to try detained Saddam Hussein loyalists for crimes against humanity and human rights abuses, a senior official said on Sunday.

U.S. civil administrator for Iraq Paul Bremer has asked his staff to accelerate the process of forming a tribunal, Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's special representative in Iraq, told Reuters.

"We can't hold these people in detention for an unreasonable length of time," Greenstock said of the several thousand Iraqis in U.S. custody, including 40 of the 55 most wanted officials of Saddam's former Baathist regime. [...]

Public confidence in Bush continues to fall as more American soldiers die in Iraq

By David Usborne in New York
The Independent
03 November 2003

The failure to control the situation in Iraq and the rising number of American casualties are beginning to cost President George Bush dearly.

For the first time, a majority of Americans, 51 per cent, according to a poll published yesterday, disapprove of Mr Bush's actions in Iraq. [...]

UN sends mission to prevent collapse of Karzai regime

By Katherine Butler
03 November 2003

The UN Security Council sent a high-ranking delegation to Afghanistan yesterday to bolster the country's leader, Hamid Karzai, amid signs that his authority is steadily slipping to powerful warlords and warnings that an opium boom could turn Afghanistan into a failed state run by drug cartels.

The delegation, including the UN ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France, Mexico, Spain and Bulgaria, are aiming to demonstrate the international community's commitment to rebuilding the country, said the head of the mission, Germany's UN ambassador Gunter Pleuger.

The ambassadors are to visit Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif, he said, to pressure powerful regional warlords "to co-operate fully with the central government" so elections next year can be held in a climate of stability. "We will speak to the local warlords and call to their attention the responsibility for the whole country demanded from them, that they work together with the central government, economically, politically and above all for security," he said.

But even as he spoke, there were reports of further violence. Two civilians were killed in clashes between rival militias. And there were unconfirmed reports that eight villagers had died in an airstrike on a remote eastern village. The strike hit a house belonging to Mawlawi Rabbani, a prominent local cleric who is said to have co-operated with the US-led coalition. [...]

Comment: Contrary to popular belief and the lies issuing from the White house and the Pentagon, the US invasion and bombing of Afghanistan has done nothing to help the country. It is remarkable that this must be stated, when has the invasion and bombing of a defenseless country ever helped it? But we forget, "war is peace."

It is patently obvious that the only reason that the US invaded Afghanistan was to seize further control in the region and to restart the lucrative opium business (which was all but prohibited under the Taleban). Now that this has been achieved, the inevitable abandonment begins, leaving the Afghan people to their fate under the new US-imposed political structure of opposing factions of brutal warlords.

ISI and FBI fail to stop Al Qaeda

By Hameedullah Abid

ISLAMABAD: The joint efforts by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to hunt 21 Al Qaeda men have failed. Intelligence reports based on communication interceptions and financial transactions suggest that Osama bin Laden and his key men, including Ayman Al Zawahiri, are regrouping.

Reports say that Al Qaeda is now eyeing civilian targets in the US and Pakistan which may be attacked in the coming months, Daily Times has learnt from credible intelligence sources in Islamabad. [...]

Iran says it will suspend, not stop enrichment

TEHRAN (AFP) Nov 02, 2003

[...] "The use of nuclear technology for peaceful ends is our right, and we do not have the right nor the wish to reject this," he added, asserting that "no country has the right to deprive Iran of this technology." [...]

Israeli Court Limits National Strike

Associated Press Writer
1:41 AM PST, November 3, 2003

JERUSALEM -- A nationwide strike against plans to overhaul Israel's welfare state shut down government services, banks, the international airport and trains on Monday, but a court limited the stoppages to just four hours.

The workers struck despite efforts by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who held intense negotiations over the phone from Moscow, where he arrived Sunday on a state visit, officials said.

Early Monday, Israel's Labor Court headed off what was supposed to be an open-ended walkout -- one of the widest strikes in the nation's history and a challenge to Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans to overhaul the nation's troubled economy.

The court ordered further negotiations between the union and government and scheduled another hearing for Thursday evening. Its decision appeared to rule out further shutdowns for the rest of the week, barring an appeal by the union. Monday's strike was slated for four hours in response. [...]

The labor crisis hit Israel in the midst of a long recession, brought on partly by a world economic slowdown and made worse by three years of Palestinian-Israeli violence, which has cut sharply into tourism and discouraged foreign investment.

Unemployment is nearly 11 percent, a near record in Israel, and growth predictions hover near zero. [...]

Qurei not to present new cabinet Tuesday: sources 2003-11-03 20:52:33

GAZA, Nov. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei will not present his new cabinet to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on Tuesday, Palestinian sources said Monday.

Qurei will not present his cabinet on Tuesday because of the ongoing disputes over the competences and title of interior minister, the sources said.

Iran nuke signing thrown into doubt

Monday 03 November 2003, 12:25 Makka Time, 9:25 GMT

The chief of Iran's national security council Hasan Ruhani has cancelled a planned visit to Moscow casting renewed doubts over whether his country will bow to western pressure and sign a nuclear treaty.

Ruhani had been due to arrive in Moscow on Monday and had been expected to announce when Iran would sign the so-called additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

This allows the international nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct snap inspections of nuclear installations.

“He is not coming. The trip is cancelled, at least for the time being," said an Iranian embassy official in Moscow.

The embassy declined to provide the reason for the cancellation or whether Ruhani would reschedule his trip.

On Friday, a Russian Atomic Energy Ministry official was quoted as saying that Ruhani would announce during his Russia trip the date on which his country would sign the Additional Protocol.

[...] There was speculation in Moscow that the cancellation was due to a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who arrived in the Russian capital on Sunday for a three-day visit.

Sharon was to meet President Vladimir Putin on Monday to try to convince Russia to drop its efforts to turn the Middle East “roadmap" into a binding UN resolution.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon arrived in Russia to discuss, among other things, concerns about Russia's transfer of nuclear technology to Iran.

Comment: One wonders whether Sharon's visit might have something to do with the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The report below suggests that "Leonid Nevzlin, his partner and key shareholder who emigrated to Israel over the summer, had taken control of Mr Khodorkovsky's shares." There have been reports on the Internet of Khodorkovsky's Zionist sympathies.

The First Fireball

The US Nuclear Attack on Hiroshima Paved the Way for September 11 and Its Aftermath

by John Berger
June 29, 2002

Now that the number of innocent civilian victims killed collaterally in Afghanistan by the US bombardments is equal to the number killed in the attack on the Twin Towers, we can perhaps place the events in a larger, but not less tragic perspective, and face a new question: is it more evil or reprehensible to kill deliberately than to systematically kill blindly? (Systematically because the same logic of US armed strategy began with the Gulf war.) I don't know the answer to the question. On the ground, among the cluster bombs dropped by B52s or the stifling smoke in Church Street, Manhattan, perhaps ethical judgments cannot be comparative.

When on September 11 I watched the videos on television, I was instantly reminded of August 6 1945. We in Europe heard the news of the bombing of Hiroshima on the evening of the same day. The immediate correspondences between the two events include a fireball descending without warning from a clear sky, both attacks being timed to coincide with the civilians of the targeted city going to work in the morning, with the shops opening, with children in school preparing their lessons. A similar reduction to ashes, with bodies, flung through the air, becoming debris. A comparable incredulity and chaos provoked by a new weapon of destruction being used for the first time - the A-bomb 60 years ago, and a civil airliner last autumn. Everywhere at the epicenter, on everything and everybody, a thick pall of dust.

The differences of context and scale are of course enormous. In Manhattan the dust was not radioactive. In 1945 the United States had been waging a full-scale, three-year-old war with Japan. Both attacks, however, were planned as announcements. Watching either, one knew that the world would never again be the same; the risks everywhere, to which life was heir, had been changed on the morning of a new unclouded day.

The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki announced that the US was henceforth the supreme armed power in the world. The attack of September 11 announced that this power was no longer guaranteed invulnerability on its home ground. The two events mark the beginning and end of a certain historical period. [...]

Return to the summer of 1945. Sixty-six of Japan's largest cities had been burned down by napalm bombing. In Tokyo a million civilians were homeless and 100,000 people had died. They had been, according to Major General Curtis Lemay, who was in charge of the fire bombing operations, "scorched and boiled and baked to death". President Franklin Roosevelt's son and confidant said that the bombing should continue "until we have destroyed about half the Japanese civilian population." On July 18 the Japanese emperor telegraphed President Truman, who had succeeded Roosevelt, and once again asked for peace. The message was ignored.

A few days before the bombing of Hiroshima, Vice Admiral Radford boasted that "Japan will eventually be a nation without cities - a nomadic people". The bomb, exploding above a hospital in the center of the city, killed 100,000 people instantly, 95% of them civilians. Another 100,000 died slowly from burns and effects of radiation.

"Sixteen hours ago," President Truman announced, "an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese army base." One month later the first uncensored report - by the intrepid Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett - described the cataclysmic suffering he encountered after visiting a makeshift hospital in the city.

General Groves, who was the military director of the Manhattan Project for planning and manufacturing the bomb, hastily reassured congressmen that radiation caused no "undue suffering" and that "in fact, they say it is a very pleasant way to die". In 1946 the US strategic bombing survey came to the conclusion that "Japan would have surrendered even if atomic bombs had not been dropped".

To describe a course of events as briefly as I have is, of course, to over-simplify. The Manhattan Project was started in 1942 when Hitler was triumphant and there was the risk that researchers in Germany might manufacture atomic weapons first. The US decision, when this risk no longer existed, to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, needs to be considered in the shadow of the atrocities committed by Japanese armed forces across south-east Asia, and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. There were US commanders and certain scientists working on the Manhattan Project who did their best to delay or argue against Truman's fateful decision.[...]

I tell this story to show how far even from the reality of their own history were the 60 American thinkers in their six-star mythic hotel. I tell it also as a reminder of how the period of US armed supremacy, which opened in 1945, began for all those outside the US orbit with a blinding demonstration of a remote and ignorant ruthlessness. When President Bush asks himself "why do they hate us", he might ponder this - except that he is one of the directors of the six-star hotel and never leaves it.

Kremlin split widens over Yukos probe

By Arkady Ostrovsky and Andrew Jack in Moscow and George Parker in Brussels and FT Staff
Published: November 2 2003 21:02 | Last Updated: November 3 2003 10:47

The split in the Kremlin over the Yukos investigation widened on Sunday as Dmitry Medvedev, the newly appointed head of the presidential administration, called into question the freezing of Yukos shares.

Speaking on the state-controlled TV channel, Mr Medvedev said prosecutors who last week ordered 44 per cent of Yukos shares to be frozen should consider the economic impact of their actions.

Investors took his comments as an effort by parts of President Vladimir Putin's administration to reassure the markets. Shares in Yukos were up 8.5 per cent to $12.15 in early afternoon trade in Moscow on Monday while the RTS index of leading shares rose more than 4 per cent.

Mr Medvedev's thinly veiled warning to the prosecutors confirm his position as a counterweight to the more hard-line members in Mr Putin's administration.

[...] Separately on Sunday, advisers to Mr Khodorkovsky indicated that Leonid Nevzlin, his partner and key shareholder who emigrated to Israel over the summer, had taken control of Mr Khodorkovsky's shares.

Menatep, the company through which Mr Khodorkovsky and his partners owned their Yukos stakes, denied suggestions that Lord Jacob Rothschild, the influential British financier, controlled the stake. It said: "We don't comment on rumours, especially ones as exotic as this." Rothschild declined to comment.

Potanin: Yukos Problem Didn't Fall From Sky

By Lyuba Pronina
Staff Writer

If Mikhail Khodorkovsky thought his fellow tycoons would rally to his defense, he was mistaken.

Of the nation's handful of billionaires, only one, Vladimir Potanin, has publicly expressed an opinion on Khodorkovsky's arrest and the subsequent sequestering of his oil giant's shares -- and Potanin's opinion is remarkably similar to President Vladimir Putin's.

"For humane reasons, I don't want to criticize my colleague," Potanin told a Russo-British Chamber of Commerce conference on corporate governance Friday. "I can only say that this problem did not fall from the sky.

"This problem has a prehistory and observers who know Russia well understand where it stems from."

Flood Tide Of Heroin Pours Into Europe

Drugs From Afghanistan Are Pouring Through Central Asia On Their Way To Britain, The UN Said Last Week

By Tom Parfitt
The Telegraph - UK

Hunched over his walkie-talkie at a dusty command post near the border with Afghanistan, the Tajik soldier shouted in frustration: "Where are you? What can you see?"

In reply came a garbled tirade, distorted by static. "It's no good," said the soldier. "I can't understand a thing."

Unable to contact their base for reinforcements, the soldiers soon gave up the chase for a gang of heroin traders crossing the mountainous frontier from neighbouring Afghanistan.

Hampered by poor resources, border guards in this impoverished former Soviet state are losing the battle to stem the tide of drugs that bears most of the heroin reaching Britain's streets across Asia and Europe.

Last week, a UN report revealed that impoverished Central Asian states are now bearing the brunt of the burgeoning trade in Afghan narcotics. More than 90 per cent of heroin sold in Britain comes from Afghanistan, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). [...]

Justices Face Decision on Accepting 9/11 Cases

The New York Times
November 3, 2003

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — With cases generated by the Bush administration's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, now reaching the Supreme Court in substantial numbers, the court faces a basic decision apart from the merits of any individual case: whether to become a player in the debate over where to set the balance between individual liberty and national security.

As early as this week, there may be an indication of whether the court intends to remain on the sidelines, leaving the last word to lower courts that have so far deferred to the White House, or to weigh in with the same assertiveness it has displayed so often in recent years on some of the most bitterly disputed issues in American life. [...]

Comment: The Bush Reich has the Supreme Court in it's back pocket. Remember that it was the Supreme Court that finalized Bush's installation into the White House.

Hubbard Remanded On Bail For Offending U.S. Embassy

By Selwyn Manning
Scoop Co-Editor

Bruce Hubbard has been remanded on bail for allegedly offending the United States Embassy. Hubbard appeared in the North Shore District Court today charged with misusing a telephone. He is due to reappear on December 10.

Hubbard allegedly offended a U.S. Embassy worker, Tessa Brown, by suggesting in an email that the United States had napalmed civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, that the United States had invaded 72 countries since the end of WWII, and that there were similarities between the current U.S Bush Administration and Nazi Germany.

The Embassy subsequently made a complaint to the New Zealand Police, an investigation was initiated resulting in Hubbard’s arrest Thursday night (October 30). [...]

Comment: No one is safe from the long arm of the Bush Reich, particularly when their own countries collude with the U.S. rather than defending their own citizens. Better watch out. You just might "offend" the U.S., then you will be in for it.

Bush faces fiery welcome

Tania Branigan
Monday November 3, 2003
The Guardian

This Wednesday Guy Fawkes will share his perch on bonfires with a man who, his critics say, poses as great a danger as the 17th-century conspirator once did.

Anti-war campaigners will prop grinning effigies of George Bush on to pyres around the country, hoping to stoke up opposition to his state visit to Britain this month. [...]

Ford 'used slave labour' in Nazi German plants

By Simon English in New York
The Telegraph

The Ford Motor Company knowingly allowed slave labour at its German subsidiary during the Second World War and backed its European divisions making equipment for the Nazi military, according to a new book. [...]

Comment: Ford is not the only collaborator. See Bush No Nazi and our COINTELPRO Timeline.

U.S.-Mexico Border Patrol Failing

Nov 2, 3:42 PM (ET)

SASABE, Mexico (AP) - A crackdown along the U.S.-Mexico border designed to prevent terrorists from entering the United States hasn't stopped even one known militant from slipping into America since Sept. 11, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Instead, the tightening net of Border Patrol and Immigration agents has slowed trade, snarled traffic and cost American taxpayers millions, perhaps billions, of dollars, while hundreds of migrants have died trying to evade the growing army of border authorities. [...]

Editorial: Trade deficit fouls economy

The Capital Times
November 1, 2003

It is not our intent to alarm anyone, but we do hope that readers are aware of the latest pronouncement from Warren Buffett, the second-richest man in the world who is frequently referred to as "the most successful investor ever."

The corporate free trade agenda, says Buffett, has created a mess so serious that he is losing confidence in the stability of the U.S. dollar, and the economy it underpins. "I am crying wolf again and this time backing it with Berkshire Hathaway money," Buffett says of the assets of the investment conglomerate he created and controls. "Through the spring of 2002, I had lived nearly 72 years without purchasing a foreign currency. Since then Berkshire has made significant investments in -- and today holds -- several currencies."

Buffett says he is losing faith in the soundness of U.S. currency as an investment vehicle because the United States is running a huge trade deficit -- close to $500 billion, and rising rapidly -- that is causing income to flow out of the country at such a rapid rate that it will soon become unsustainable. In the November edition of Fortune magazine, Buffett warns that the rapidly mounting U.S. trade deficit could lead to a dramatic plunge in the value of the dollar and a host of additional economic consequences that could add up to disaster for American families. [...]

Long queue at drive-in soup kitchen

George Bush's America, the wealthiest nation in history, faces a growing poverty crisis. In the first of a three-part series Julian Borger takes the pulse of the US with elections just a year away

The Guardian
Monday November 3, 2003

The free food is handed out at nine, but the queue starts forming hours earlier. By dawn, there is a line of cars stretching half a mile back. In Logan, it is what passes for rush hour - a traffic jam driven by poverty and hunger.

The cars come out of the Ohio hills in all shapes and sizes, from the old jalopies of the chronically poor, to the newer, sleeker models of the new members of the club, who only months ago considered themselves middle class, before jobs and their retirement funds evaporated.

Dan Larkin is sitting in his middle-of-the-range pick-up truck. Since the glassware company he worked for closed its doors this time last year, he has found it hard to pay his bills. His unemployment benefits ran out six months ago and his groceries bill is the only part of his budget that has some give. He and his wife sometimes skip meals or eat less to make sure their six-year-old daughter has enough.

"I would have a real problem putting food on the table if it wasn't for this," Mr Larkin said, his car inching towards Logan's church-run food pantry. As the queue rolled forward, he reflected on the ironies of being a citizen of the world's sole superpower.

"They're sending $87bn to the second richest oil nation in the world but can't afford to feed their own here in the States."

George Bush's America is the wealthiest and most powerful nation the world has ever known, but at home it is being gnawed away from the inside by persistent and rising poverty. The three million Americans who have lost their jobs since Mr Bush took office in January 2001 have yet to find new work in a largely jobless recovery, and they are finding that the safety net they assumed was beneath them has long since unravelled. There is not much left to stop them falling.

Last year alone, another 1.7 million Americans slipped below the poverty line, bringing the total to 34.6 million, one in eight of the population. Over 13 million of them are children. In fact, the US has the worst child poverty rate and the worst life expectancy of all the world's industrialised countries, and the plight of its poor is worsening. [...]

"There's resentment down deep but people don't know what to do with it. A lot of people turn inward, rather than outward. You think it would be ripe for an outcry. But it's not, it's all kind of dulled," said Bob Garbo, who runs a regional food distribution centre in this corner of Ohio. "There's a feeling you can't do much about it, that politicians are all bad. Voting rates are down, and politicians are taking advantage of that. Here, only 20% turn out to vote in some counties." [...]

Comment: If this is an accurate reflection of the current state of America, and the dollar is about to crash (see previous article), the U.S. is indeed in for a very bumpy ride.

Paris and Berlin in legal assault on EU rules

By George Parker in Brussels
Published: November 2 2003 21:58 | Last Updated: November 3 2003 11:49

Germany and France will on Monday night join forces in a last-ditch legal attempt to save themselves from the full impact of the EU's budget rules.

Both want to stop the European Commission starting enforcement action against them under the EU's stability and growth pact, a process that could eventually lead to fines.

Researchers Warn about AIDS in Eastern Europe

Of the 280,000 new AIDS infections in Europe during the past year, more than 200,000 were reported in areas formerly belonging to the Soviet bloc. The figures are triggering alarm bells among researchers.

"In Poland, we’re observing completely new strains of the virus that are coming here from the East," said Andrzej Horban, the deputy chairman of the 9th annual European Aids Conference, which took place this week in Warsaw.

"Most of the new infections, even in Western Europe, have come from immigrants. They’ve been infected in their home country and then they come to Poland because we’re going to become a member of the European Union," he said.

[...] "The people who are dying in Africa today were infected 20 years ago," says Climek. "If you go back and read the newspapers from ’85, ’86 and ’87, you can read our predictions. But nobody believed us. In the first years after infection, people remain totally healthy, and they look healthy, too. Why should people have been disquieted? But now we know that every single person will get sick within 10-15 years. And that’s why people have gotten active in Africa – suddenly hundreds of thousands are dying. In Central and Eastern Europe the patients aren’t dying yet because they only got infected five or six years ago. But in 10 years, hundreds of thousands will die in the hospitals if they are treated today."

Germany Increases Funding for Genome Research

Despite tough times for science funding, the German government says it will invest €135 million in the country’s human genome research program.

Chrétien to take job with UN: report

Last Updated Mon, 03 Nov 2003 7:05:30

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Jean Chrétien will accept a job with the United Nations, a move that could hasten his planned retirement in February, according to published reports.

According to the Montreal newspaper La Presse, Chrétien was offered a foreign post, most likely with an African development agency. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also invited Chrétien to sit on an advisory council to promote institutional reform.

Chrétien spokesman Steven Hogue would neither confirm nor deny the story.

Di's hoard of secret videos destroyed

London Observer

Secret confessional videos made by Diana, Princess of Wales - which would have caused huge embarrassment to the royal family if they had been made public - have been destroyed.

Royal sources say the videos, recorded by a former BBC cameraman, who is now believed to be living abroad, were seized when detectives raided the home of Paul Burrell, Diana's former butler, in Cheshire two years ago. [...]

Until now the whereabouts of the videos, which contained a series of character assassinations of each royal, had remained as mysterious as the location of the audio tape. Now well-placed sources say the videos were handed to a third party and have been destroyed. [...]

Controversial Hydroelectric Project Divides Iceland

A $3 billion dam and aluminum smelting plant that will bring new work to the economically limping eastern Iceland is dividing the country's people, who are struggling to balance conservation with economic needs.

[...] "The project was close to failing, and the Scandinavian investors pulled out," Hauksdottir recalls. "Some members of our government went to America and went begging at Alcoa, the largest producer of aluminum in the world. Alcoa was promised very enticing conditions, and we sold them a piece of Iceland."

The exact terms of the deal have been kept under wraps.

Church mediation bid fails

An effort by Greek mediators to defuse rapidly escalating tension between the Church of Greece and the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate has fallen flat after both parties in the religious turf war traded accusations of intransigence.

In a statement late on Saturday, the Patriarchate claimed Church of Greece representatives had failed to make any concessions in the talks held last week in Istanbul and Athens, with the participation of senior churchmen as well as the secular governor of the Mt Athos monastic community in northern Greece and his predecessor, influential To Vima daily’s editor, Stavros Psycharis.

The Greek Church, headed by Archbishop Christodoulos, and the Patriarchate, under the leadership of Patriarch Vartholomaios, are at odds over who should have jurisdiction over 36 northern Greek sees freed from the Turks after 1912. The matter became acutely topical in the summer, when the heads of two northern Greek bishoprics died.

Turkish PM grows testy on Cyprus

Ankara appears to be toughening its stance on the reunification of Cyprus, as European Union officials observe with increasing frequency that the island's continued division will harm Turkey's own EU accession prospects.

Govt asks states to support tougher terror laws (Australia)

The Federal Government has written to state and territory leaders seeking support for new laws to give the Commonwealth increased power to list terrorist organisations without United Nations approval.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says most other countries can list terrorist groups without permission from the United Nations.

"We should not be held hostage to the United Nations in relation to these matters," he said.

Philippine-US military drill starts amid tight security 2003-11-03 19:49:24

MANILA, Nov. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Some 400 US Marines arrived Monday at the former US air base Clark in the northern Philippines for joint training with Filipino troops amid intense security due to the threat of terrorist attack, the US military said.

The US troops would be restricted to camp because of the potential threat from Philippine rebels linked to the al-Qaeda network and other leftist rebels, the ABS-CBN news channel quoted Colonel Steven Busby, co-director of the maneuvers as saying.

North Korea economy heading for collapse; could badly damage South -- SP

SEOUL (AFP) Nov 03, 2003

Communist North Korea's economy is heading for collapse and could drag capitalist South Korea down with it, Standard and Poor's credit rating agency said Monday.

"North Korea's economy cannot be sustained in its current state and we think it is highly likely to collapse," said Choi Jung-Tai, the agency's director for South Korea, adding: "When is uncertain."

South Korea, the world's 11th largest economy, will be hit hard when the Stalinist North implodes, he said.

"We don't have an absolute figure but the cost to the South will be high -- two or three times GDP (Gross domestic product), something like that," Choi said. [...]

Thousands riot in China after vendor killed by government officials

Monday November 3, 4:44 PM

Thousands of people in east China's Shandong province rioted last week, storming a government building and smashing equipment after an official vehicle ran over and killed a vendor, a human rights group and residents said.

The riot -- one of the largest in recent years -- occurred on October 28, a day after a confrontation between officials and a man selling fresh pancakes from a roving stove-wagon in Zhoucheng city.

On October 27, the vendor, surnamed Shao, was selling the popular egg and onion pancakes when some employees from the "city management" department confiscated his wagon and loaded it onto their vehicle, sources said.

Shao -- seeing his source of livelihood being carted away -- blocked the vehicle's path.

He was run over as a crowd watched, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said. [...]

Philippines on alert over impeachment row

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine military says it will go on full alert ahead of rallies planned in Manila this week by opposing camps in a row over the impeachment of the country's top judge.

Military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Lucero said the nationwide alert would start on Tuesday morning with troops being sent to an area of the city where the country's two "People Power" uprisings of 1986 and 2001 took place. [...]

3 die after cricket sparks riot

Police imposed a curfew in Viramgam, 65 miles west of Ahmadabad in the Indian stare of Gujarat, yesterday after three people were killed in a clash between Hindus and Muslims. [...]

The rioting erupted as Gujarat recovers from India's worst sectarian violence in a decade.

Spain Shuts Border with Gibraltar Over Cruise Ship

Flak again fired at Enola Gay, WWII exhibit

[...] "You wouldn't display a slave ship solely as a model of technological advancement," said David Nasaw, a cultural historian at the City University of New York Graduate Center and one of 100 petition signers. "It would be offensive not to put it in context." [...]

'Rich killers' stalk City of Lost Girls

Sandra Jordan reports from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, where one campaigner is battling the authorities to expose the powerful men she believes to have murdered 100 women [...]

Sudanese boy faces double amputation after 'unfair' robbery trial

By Katherine Butler
03 November 2003

A Sudanese boy of 16 is to have his right hand and left foot amputated by a court order that human rights campaigners have denounced as barbaric.

Launching an urgent appeal on behalf of Mohamed Hassan Hamdan, Amnesty International said yesterday that the penalty, known as "cross amputation" is tantamount to torture. Judicial amputations, floggings and even sentences of death by stoning are not unheard of in Sudan, whose penal code is partly based on Sharia (Islamic law).

But even by the standards of Sudan's special courts, which have been criticised for drastic penalties, this case stands out because of the age of the defendant. The youth was arrested in August along with five adults on suspicion of involvement in an armed attack in Darfur, in the west of the country. They were charged with armed robbery. All six pleaded not guilty, but only Hamdan was convicted.

Amnesty said the trial was conducted in an emergency court, which does not respect international standards for fair trials. The defence lawyer was absent during the last session of the trial when Hamdan was convicted. Amnesty said the sentence should be commuted because it contravenes international human rights standards ratified by Sudan. [...]

On This day in 1755

Massachusetts offers £20 bounty for scalps of Indian boys & girls under 12 [ Daily Globe November Dates Archive]

Also see Acts of unbelievable cruelty to Acadians and Indians by the English CH. XXV by Dudley LeBlanc:

During the winter the English were guilty of an act of treacherous folly, unparalleled anywhere. Sloughton, Governor of Massachusetts, sent a message to the Indians, telling them to bring in their prisoners for exchange. Captain Chubb, the Commander, persuaded the Indians to deliver their prisoners promising to send to Boston at once for the Indian prisoners. A conference was proposed inside the fort, nine Indians and nine English only to be presented without arms; the nine English had pistols concealed in their bosoms. The Indians were surrounded by a party of soldiers and all killed, except two who escaped. Three were chiefs of great renown. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the character of this scandalous transaction further than to observe that it was a crime not only against the Indians, but also against the English settlers, who in the end were the greatest sufferers for all such treacherous acts. Such inexcusable crimes against faith and honesty made it impossible for the Indians to believe that the English would keep any truce with them; for those instances of English treachery were told at the camp fires of every tribe and they were repaid in kind in after years.

We see that something similar is occuring today. A fevered hatred is being roused against Muslims, freedom and democracy have been promised, and all that has been delivered is genocide. What are the consequences going to be?

U.K. measles outbreaks pose risk to U.S.

By Steve Mitchell
Medical Correspondent
Published 10/31/2003 5:35 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- As the United Kingdom braces for an impending measles outbreak this winter due to low vaccination rates, U.S. health experts say this raises concerns the deadly disease could spread to the United States, particularly considering immunization rates in some states have fallen to dangerously low levels. [...]

Row over new 'link' between MMR jab and autism

Anushka Asthana
Sunday November 2, 2003
The Observer

The row over the MMR vaccination deepened yesterday when the doctor at the centre of the controversy published fresh evidence of a possible link between the immunisation and autism.

Dr Andrew Wakefield released the paper earlier than planned following a dispute with Dr Simon Murch, a co-author of the original research that triggered a nationwide scare about the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in 1998. [...]

Meteorite-like object lands in UP village

Last Updated: November 03, 2003 18:45 IST

A huge solid object fell from the sky in Kasoli village of Muzaffarnagar district on Sunday night and created an approximately three feet deep crater in the western Uttar Pradesh hamlet.

The object, and the crater it created, has evoked considerable curiosity among residents and scientists.

Orissa villagers stumble upon meteorite debris District Magistrate R K Singh told PTI on Monday that villagers claimed to have seen the object, weighing about 19kg, falling from the sky around 1900 IST with a loud noise.

Later, they found an 8x9 sq inch black-coloured solid object in the field of a farmer, Kishan.

Following receipt of the information, police rushed to the village and took the object to Muzaffarnagar, the district headquarters, which is about 30km away.

Experts from the Roorkee Engineering College have been asked to examine it.


by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
Dummerston, Vt.

In its 20th annual State of the World report, issued last January, the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute concluded that the human race may have only one generation to save itself from ecological collapse.

The statistics from the report are sobering.

  • One-fifth of the world's population - about 1.2 billion people - are in absolute poverty and try to live on less than a $1 a day.
  • 420 million people live in countries which no longer have enough crop land to grow their own food.
  • One-quarter of the developing world's crop land is too degraded to till and 500 million people live in regions prone to drought. By 2025, that number could increase fivefold to about 3 billion.
  • About 30 percent of the world's surviving forests are seriously degraded and they are being cut down at the rate of 50,000 square miles a year.
  • Wetlands have been reduced by 50 percent over the last century.
  • A quarter of the world's mammal species and 12 percent of the birds are in danger of extinction.
  • Carbon dioxide levels - a key contributor to global warming - are the highest they've been in hundreds of thousands of years.
  • Global production of toxic waste has reached 300 million tons a year. [...]

Strong quake hits off Fukushima

The Associated Press

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 shook northeastern Japan on Sunday, the Meteorological Agency said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The temblor was centered 30 km beneath the seabed off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.

The agency said there was no danger of tsunami.

An earthquake of magnitude 5 or higher can cause damage to homes and buildings if it occurs in a populated area.

Quake continues to rock Dominican Republic

Posted on Fri, Oct. 31, 2003
Miami Herald

PUERTO PLATA, Dominican Republic - Antonio Gonzalez was preparing for bed when a deafening sound rumbled through his modest home, the floor buckled and the walls collapsed.

"It felt like the end of the world," Gonzalez, 48, said. "When the sun came out, that's when we realized how bad it was."

For Gonzalez and hundreds of others, it is still bad. A month after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake rumbled through this beachside tourist city of 60,000 on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, hundreds of families are homeless or, like Gonzalez, living with friends. Damage is expected to exceed $1.5 million, a small fortune for this poor country. [...]

New Milford High observatory discovers asteroids

Associated Press

NEW MILFORD — The night sky, full of vast wonders and unknowns, just got a little less mysterious, thanks to volunteers at the John J. McCarthy Observatory on the campus of New Milford High School.

They spotted one, and possibly three, previously unconfirmed asteroids roaming the solar system — a dream of most amateur astronomers.

Monty Robson, of the Western Connecticut Chapter of the Society for Amateur Scientists, said members of his group were observing a known asteroid called 2003 TH2 between Oct. 14 and Oct. 19 when they realized something else was up there.

They had been recording images of a part of the sky and were surprised to find two, maybe three, more asteroids. [...]

"Asteroids are the only known disasters that could do us all in," Robson said. [...]

Sun more active than for a millennium

New Scientist

The Sun is more active now than it has been for a millennium. The realisation, which comes from a reconstruction of sunspots stretching back 1150 years, comes just as the Sun has thrown a tantrum. Over the last week, giant plumes of have material burst out from our star's surface and streamed into space, causing geomagnetic storms on Earth. [...]

Holes in space are not empty

Universe may be full of great dark voids where rules are different.

3 November 2003

Different rules may apply in the dark, deserted corners of the Universe, a team of astrophysicists is proposing.

This is worrying, they warn. We simply look where the light is - like hunting for your keys only in the puddles of streetlamp light, it is about all we can do. But in so doing, we may be getting a biased view of the Universe, they argue.

Most of our Universe is composed of lightless voids, inside which stars and galaxies cannot form, say Jeremiah Ostriker of the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues. But these dark regions, they argue, might not be as empty as they appear.

Astronomers have generally assumed that where there is more light, there is proportionately more matter. Some of this matter is visible, in the form of bright stars and galaxies; some of it is mysterious 'dark matter'. No one knows what dark matter is - it is detected because it exerts a gravitational pull on luminous matter.

Ostriker's team contends, however, that light is not necessarily a good way of tracing matter. Their computer simulations of the structure of the Universe indicate that light actually switches off rather abruptly as the total density of matter in space falls.

Below a certain mass density, they calculate, it becomes difficult for stars to form. Yet this darkness should not be assumed to imply emptiness.

The gloomy voids are like pieces of a "lower-density Universe", say the researchers, where there is matter but no stars. They take up 85% of the Universe, the team estimates, and contain 20% of its total mass.

Mystery of mystic proportions: Why not here?

By Allan Turner
Houston Chronicle

First came the UFO, a massive, saucer-shaped craft hovering low over the Pacific Northwest in the spring of 1967. Then, two days later, came the beeping a steady, two-beeps-to-the-second sound coming from no discernible source. Locals, some bearing rifles, flocked to the woods to hear, to puzzle, to perhaps solve the mystery.

The nighttime beeping continued for weeks. Police even thought they heard it on their radios. When the beeping began, cows and dogs grew agitated, then quiet. Even the loud-mouthed frogs shut up.

Civil defense experts prowled the woods to no avail. Bird-call experts analyzed poor-quality tapes of the sound and came up blank. Finally, at wit's end, local authorities turned to their last hope: the crack saucer-busters at the University of Colorado.

Within days, physical scientist Roy Craig, an investigator with the university's Air Force-financed Condon Project the nation's largest, most systematic investigation of UFOs to date was dispatched to the scene.

What he found was the stuff of history. [...]

Treasure Trove of UFO Data Lands at a Texas University

Experts dismiss theories in popular book


"The Da Vinci Code" is more than a literary phenomenon, the summer's top beach read that's still flying out of bookstores and has been tabbed to get the full Hollywood treatment from the team that made "A Beautiful Mind."

The Code is also a novel that implies that it is more, a story that pulls together bits of history and assorted facts in making what appears to be a quite serious assertion: that 2,000 years of Christian belief is based on lies, and that the Vatican has directed the Greatest Conspiracy Ever Concocted. [...]

Ghost stories haunt White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House at night is a dark and spooky place, haunted, according to legend, by ghosts of dead presidents and a former British soldier. [...]

Mobile phone explodes in Thailand, injures owner

Australian woman punches crocodile on nose to save teenage nephew

07:24 AM EST Nov 03

DARWIN, Australia (AP) - A woman punched a three-metre saltwater crocodile on the nose to free her teenage nephew from its jaws during an attack in Australia's Outback, a newspaper reported Monday.

Margaret Rinybuma, in her 50s, let her fists fly when the reptile lunged at 19-year-old Manual Pascoe's leg as he launched his boat in a creek about 400 kilometres east of the Northern Territory capital of Darwin on Saturday, the Northern Territory News reported. "I hit him with my fist on the nose and I yelled out 'Help! In the name of Jesus!' and it let him go," Rinybuma told the newspaper.

Pascoe suffered muscle damage to his left leg and was recovering in hospital, Rinybuma said.

Monkeys terrorize government workers, visitors in India's capital

07:25 AM EST Nov 03

NEW DELHI (AP) - In a capital city where cows roam the streets and elephants plod along in the bus lanes, it's no surprise to find government buildings overrun with monkeys.

But the officials who work there are fed up. They've been bitten, robbed and otherwise tormented by monkeys that ransack files, bring down power lines, screech at visitors and bang on office windows.

[...] To no avail. Hindus believe that monkeys are manifestations of the monkey god, Hanuman, and worshippers come to Raisina Hill every Tuesday handing out bananas.

Last year the monkeys made their presence felt by hanging from window ledges and screeching at reporters arriving for a news conference with visiting U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Comment: At the time of Rumsfelds visit, a translator for the monkeys reportedly claimed that the monkeys annoyance stemmed from the fact that George W Bush was often portrayed as a monkey, and that they wanted this to stop since it was making them look bad. Really, it's true!

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